Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

How to Defend Against Massachusetts Machine Gun Charges

Law enforcement in Lynn recently arrested two men for possession of a machine gun after stopping the motorists for a vehicle violation. The two men were subsequently charged with possession of a machine gun, possession of a large capacity weapon, and possession of a firearm and ammunition without a permit.  

While law enforcement was taking the two men into custody, an officer found a MasterPiece Arms 9 mm pistol as well as a 30-round magazine. The men were then released on a $1,000 bail.

Massachusetts Law Addressing Machine Guns

Massachusetts law prohibits the possession of a machine gun, except for specific exemptions that are created by law including the use of machine guns by some members of law enforcement. State code defines a machine gun as any loaded or unloaded weapon that is capable of automatically or rapidly discharging shots by one activation of the trigger.

The Penalties Associated with the Use of a Machine Gun

The state of Massachusetts takes offenses involving machine guns particularly serious. Possession of a machine gun can result in a person facing between 18 months up to a maximum of life in prison. The reason why the commonwealth takes machine gun offenses so seriously is that the weapons are frequently used in the commission of very violent offenses. 

Arguing that Prosecution Failed to Satisfy All Elements of an Offense

There are certain elements that must be satisfied to justify a conviction involving a submachine gun. For one, the firearm must meet the court’s definition of a machine gun. Consequently, some people who are charged with this offense end up retaining the assistance of a ballistics experts who can argue that the involved item does not satisfy the court’s definition of a machine gun.  

Other Defenses That can be Raised in Response to Machine Gun Charges

Some of the other defenses that can be raised in response to a charge of machine gun possession include the following: 

  • If a machine gun was seized as the result of an unlawful search by law enforcement, it is possible to file a motion to suppress evidence. This is because the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects an individual against unreasonable searches and seizures.

  • Most machine gun charges involve establishing that the firearm was in a person’s “possession,” which can be a difficult element of an offense to prove. A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and help create a strong argument that you were not in possession of a firearm.

  • Prosecution also must establish that a person knowingly possessed a machine gun. It can be difficult to meet this element of an offense. Without establishing that a person knew of a machine gun’s presence, however, prosecution will not be able to convict a person. 

Speak With an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Edward Molari has substantial experience helping people in Massachusetts defend against a number of different types of charges including those related to machine guns. 

If you are facing a weapons charge, it is important to understand that the resulting penalties could create a number of challenges that you end up facing for the rest of your life. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.